Christopher Bramasco sends Durango past Valley, into state tournament

A broken nose couldn’t stop Durango’s Christopher Bramasco on Tuesday.

And Bramasco made sure the Trailblazers’ season didn’t end.

Playing with both nostrils heavily packed, Bramasco scored twice in the second half to lift Durango to a 2-0 victory over Valley at Faith Lutheran. The win gave the Trailblazers the final berth in the Class 4A boys state soccer tournament, which begins on Friday at Bettye Wilson Park.

“Chris came to me, and he said ‘Coach, I’m ready to play,” Durango coach Richard Cuellar said. “He was breathing directly out of his mouth. So it took a little bit for him to get his confidence in, but he got it back.”

Durango (20-4-2) controlled possession for much of the game, but had little to show for it. Bramasco ended the drought in the 68th minute when Jamie Munguia crossed the ball to Marcos Delangel-Parra, who slipped a pass to Bramasco.

Bramasco tucked his shut just under the crossbar to give Durango the lead.

“A few days ago I got jumped,” Bramasco said. “It’s been rough for me. But I came here to support my team, and thankfully I helped them.”

Six minutes later Bramasco took a pass from Alejandro Corchado and put his shot inside the left post for an insurance goal.

Cuellar said Bramasco nearly left Durango after the altercation at school. But the coach and the rest of the Trailblazers boys soccer team is glad he decided to stay.

“I got him back, I talked to him and we got everything figured out,” Cuellar said. “He’s going to stay with me. He’s just an amazing player.”

Durango outshot Valley 8-2 in the first half, but came away with nothing to show for it, as the team’s best shots went over the crossbar.

But the Trailblazers remained patient and finally broke through against the Vikings (6-10-4).

“We played our game this time,” said Cuellar, whose team lost 2-1 to Spring Valley in the Sunset Region final. “We played it on the ground. I already knew they were going to park on us. They held defense only; they only played two forwards. We had to just take our time, move it up patiently.”

Goalkeeper Paolo Sarnataro made three saves to record the shutout.

The Trailblazers play Sunrise Region champ Coronado (17-3-1) in the state semifinals at 4 p.m. on Friday.

“We’ve been talking about this since the beginning of the season,” Bramasco said. “We’ve been having the tough moments, but I thank God for this opportunity. We just came and won.”

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